Let me confess, I have a small repertoire when it comes to Asian soups, not the spicy ones like Tom Yam and all but more those for family with small kids ones. My hubster and kids love soups. Like love, love. Me…I can live without them. But for the others, if I have to make dishes to go with rice, soup has to be in the menu. Sometimes this irks me because like I have to go and time myself to make soups two hours before. Or I have to spend on pork ribs or chicken pieces just for soups. My slow cooker is too small a capacity for four people eating. And if I use my big pot, I can have some leftover for the next day. My girl is not really great with meat textures yet, so I always have to make soups, pour it over the rice and feed her this way. But at least she’ll eat all the other stuff that goes with it.
So I came across old cucumber from our favourite chicken rice seller. I notice that along with all those chicken pieces he doesn’t use, he adds old cucumber to his soup. It gave me the nerve to go experiment with old cucumber. Previously, I don’t even know what old cucumber looks like because my mother never made it for us when we were kids.
It’s relatively easy and I add some extra ingredients like corn and red dates to give it the savoury sweetness. This recipe can also be done with pork ribs.
RECIPE FOR CHICKEN SOUP WITH OLD CUCUMBER
Chicken (cut to manageable pieces)
1 old cucumber, about 600-800gms
9 red dates
1 corn on the cob
1. I pre-blanch the chicken in hot boiling water to get rid of the blood and sediments.
2. Wash the skin of the old cucumber. Do not scrub too vigorously. We keep the skin on so the cucumber pieces will hold it’s shape, if not everything will disintegrate and the soup will be too murky. You can scrape off the seeds if you like but I left it.
3. Cut into rounds of 3cm thick. Cut in rounds into halves each.
4. Make a score on each date.
5. Break the corn into 3 parts.
6. Put everything in a deep pot. Pour water to cover.
7. Let it come to a boil, skim off the top foam and then lower the heat to simmer covered for 2 hours.
8. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.